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The Shreveport Times: Now that the Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act (HB 707) has been stalled in the Legislature, and then converted by Governor Bobby Jindal into the form an Executive Order (EO), it is useful to summarize why the bill was so urgently needed, and why the EO is so important.
The Daily Signal: Defying state legislators who rejected a measure that sought to protect “the right of conscience as it relates to marriage,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal acted on his own Tuesday.
Religion Clause: After a committee of the Louisiana House of Representatives effectively killed the proposed Marriage and Conscience Act yesterday (New Orleans Times Picayune), Governor Bobby Jindahl issued Executive Order BJ 15-8 (May 19, 2015) designed to accomplish the same thing. Its key provision prohibits government departments, commissions, boards, agencies and local governments from denying various benefits because a person acts in accordance with his religious belief that marriage should be only between one man and one woman.
KNOE (AP): A contentious bill that thrusts Louisiana into a national debate over religious objections laws will finally get a hearing.
Caffeinated Thoughts: Alliance Defending Freedom senior council Austin Nimocks affirmed that the law protects religious liberty in a released statement yesterday before the vote. “Nobody should be punished by the government for believing that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. The Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act forbids the government from revoking the tax-exempt status or professional license of any person or organization that affirms marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The government should not be empowered to force anyone to choose between embracing same-sex marriage and losing their livelihood or their ability to carry out their organization’s mission. The bill secures freedom by limiting government intrusions into the lives and minds of all Louisianans,” Nimocks stated.
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Austin R. Nimocks : “Nobody should be punished by the government for believing that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. The Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act forbids the government from revoking the tax-exempt status or professional license of any person or organization that affirms marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The government should not be empowered to force anyone to choose between embracing same-sex marriage and losing their livelihood or their ability to carry out their organization’s mission. The bill secures freedom by limiting government intrusions into the lives and minds of all Louisianans.”
NOLA: Johnson practices privately with Kitchens Law Firm but in recent years did work for the Alliance Defending Freedom — previously called the Alliance Defense Fund — which represented a photographer in New Mexico court after she declined to work for a same-sex couple two years ago.
Religion Clause: Religion News Service reported yesterday that as the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage nears, legislation has been introduced in several states to block the effect of a ruling in favor of marriage equality.
Public Discourse: The Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act is timely, necessary, and well-justified. If passed, it will help preserve the State of Louisiana’s commitment to freedoms of conscience, religion, and expression.
NOLA: Thirty-five Louisiana business owners so far have signed an open letter drafted by two Louisiana activist organizations asking the Legislature to reject the state’s proposed religious freedom law.
BR Now:Kelly Fiedorek, attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, spoke to the necessity of the state law. “You have absolute freedom of press, but unfortunately the U.S. supreme Court in 1990 substantially weakened the protection that courts give to religious freedom,” she said.
NOLA: For well over a decade, many have raised concerns that redefining marriage would impact the ability of churches, pastors, religious ministries and individual people of faith to maintain their religious freedom. And during that same time, activists have repeatedly given their assurance that religious entities and individuals will remain free to conduct their business in accordance with their deeply held religious beliefs.
Christian Today: Lawmakers in Louisiana continue to debate a religious freedom bill despite the controversies faced by legislators in other states over similar laws.
NOLA: “It was only ever envisioned as an attempt to protect our citizens and their rights of conscience — and not to harm anyone. … If it were otherwise, I would not be involved in it,” said Johnson, a constitutional lawyer who has worked for anti-abortion and anti-same-sex marriage causes.
The Daily Signal: Recent nationwide polling shows that 81 percent of Americans agree that the government should leave people free to live and work in accordance with their belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.
The Washington Post: Following on the heels of contentious religious freedom bills in Indiana and Arkansas, Jindal said he plans to support his state’s own bill. Judging from how Indiana’s bill catapulted Gov. Mike Pence (R) to the national spotlight, Jindal could soon see the same thing happen for him — and not necessarily in a good way. But Louisiana’s debate could be different in one significant way.
First Things: In January of this year, the U.S. Supreme court declined to intervene in a case in which the prosecutor wants to force Fr. Jeff Bayhi, a priest of the diocese of Baton Rouge, to testify about a confession in court. He allegedly told a fourteen year-old in 2008 to forget about the sexual abuse she had suffered from a family member. If Fr. Bayhi indeed did this, he will have to take responsibility for this despicable and unpastoral act at a higher, heavenly court—but he cannot be expected to discuss the contents of a confession in a U.S. court of law.
Planned Parenthood appeals Bobby Jindal administration’s rejection of abortion services in New Orleans
NOLA: Planned Parenthood is appealing a decision by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration to deny its application to provide abortions at a new clinic under construction in New Orleans.
Life News: Then in November 2013, Planned Parenthood Louisiana voluntarily reimbursed the state $33,739.13 after conducting “a self-audit in which they determined that one of their nurses had been writing and issuing prescriptions without proper authority,” according to Alliance Defending Freedom.
WRAL (AP): Lawyers on both sides of a same-sex marriage case urged Louisiana’s Supreme Court on Thursday to rule soon on the matter even though the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to do so by late June.
Patheos: Evidently, the Louisiana State Supreme Court woke up one morning and decided to K-O the legal protection for the seal of the confessional.
Life Site News: With the assistance of the Alliance Defending Freedom, Operation Rescue sued the St. Louis Fire Department in May, 2014, to obtain public information that was over-zealously redacted from 911 records it had received through the Freedom of Information Act. That case is pending.
Life News: With the assistance of the Alliance Defending Freedom, Operation Rescue sued the St. Louis Fire Department in May, 2014, to obtain public information that was over-zealously redacted from 911 records it had received through the Freedom of Information Act. That case is pending.
SCOTUS Blog: A state judge in Louisiana, ordering state officials to treat as legal the California wedding of a same-sex couple, has struck down a state law on such marriages — the same law that was upheld in federal court earlier this month.
Aleteia: A federal judge’s recent ruling that upheld Louisiana’s traditional definition of marriage may provide a new legal strategy for defending the institution of marriage in the courts.
One News Now: The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled Indiana’s marriage law and Wisconsin’s marriage amendment unconstitutional. A federal judge in Louisiana, meanwhile, ruled this week that the state had the legal right to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
Breitbart: “The people of Louisiana – and the people of every state – should continue to have the authority to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman in their laws,” Banionesaid. “The district court in this case was right to conclude, as the U.S. Supreme Court did in its Windsor decision last year, that marriage law is the business of the states.” -Byron Babione
CBN: A federal judge in Louisiana has upheld the state’s marriage amendment, saying that states have the right to define marriage.
SCOTUS Blog: Ruling that the Supreme Court’s one-year-old decision striking down a provision of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act “does little more than give both sides in this case something to hope for,” a federal judge in New Orleans on Wednesday upheld Louisiana’s ban on same-sex marriages and its refusal to recognize any such union performed in another state. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Martin C. Feldman thus became the first by a federal court to reject a constitutional challenge since the Justices’ decision in United States v. Windsor.
Christian News Network: A federal judge nominated to the bench by then-President Ronald Reagan has upheld Louisiana’s state constitutional amendment enshrining marriage as being between a man and a woman.
CBN: Byron Babione, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative non-profit legal organization, applauded Feldman’s decision. “The district court in this case was right to conclude, as the U.S. Supreme Court did in its Windsor decision last year, that marriage law is the business of the states,” Babione said.
ABC News: Byron Banione of the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom praised the decision. “The people of Louisiana – and the people of every state – should continue to have the authority to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman in their laws,” he said in a statement. “The district court in this case was right to conclude, as the U.S. Supreme Court did in its Windsor decision last year, that marriage law is the business of the states.”
LA Times: A federal judge in Louisiana upheld the state’s marriage law Wednesday, marking the first time a federal court upheld such a law since the Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act last year, according to court filings.
“The people of Louisiana – and the people of every state – should continue to have the authority to affirm marriage as the union of a man and a woman in their laws. The district court in this case was right to conclude, as the U.S. Supreme Court did in its Windsor decision last year, that marriage law is the business of the states. We concur with the district court’s observation that ‘Louisiana is acting squarely within the scope of its traditional authority, as underscored by Justice Kennedy’ in the Windsor decision.” -Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Byron Babione
CBS/AP: A federal judge has upheld Louisiana’s marriage law, as well as the state’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states.
SCOTUS Blog: Nine months after the Supreme Court allowed enforcement of a Texas law that led to the closing of a third of all clinics in that state, a new courthouse battle over that same law is rapidly developing. In a rushed motion filed on Sunday, the state of Texas took the issue back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit after a federal judge in Austin struck it down on Friday afternoon. The issue may not stop at the appeals court level.
The Washington Times (AP): An abortion rights organization filed the first court challenge Friday to a Louisiana law that will require doctors who perform abortions to be able to admit patients to a nearby hospital.
Fox8Live: It’s been several weeks since any real work has been done on the Planned Parenthood site Uptown. FOX 8 has learned that two of the contractors involved in the project were cited by the state and fined for violations.
The Republic: A federal judge has decided he doesn’t need to hear more arguments in the case of a same-sex couple who want a Louisiana marriage license.
Louisiana court’s ruling that Catholic priest testify about confession criticized by Baton Rouge Diocese
nola.com: The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge has issued a statement decrying a decision by the Louisiana Supreme Court that could compel a local priest to testify in court about confessions he might have received. The alleged confessions, according to legal documents, were made to the priest by a minor girl regarding possible sexual abuse perpetrated by another church parishioner.
Life News: After repeated attempts to obtain public records related to 911 calls made by the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in St. Louis, Operation Rescue has filed suit against the St. Louis Fire Department in order to compel the to comply with state and federal open records laws. The suit, filed with the assistance of Alliance Defending Freedom on March 30, 2014, is Deborah Myers v. St. Louis Fire Department, case number 1422-CC01250. Myers is an Operation Rescue staff member.
Life News: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal today signed pro-life bills that could close three of the state’s five abortion clinics. Jindal has been a staunchly pro-life governor and he is putting into law more pieces of pro-life legislation that has, under his administration, made Louisiana one of the most pro-life states in the nation.
Yahoo News: U.S. Roman Catholic bishops meeting Wednesday renewed their focus on abortion and gay marriage under Pope Francis.
Life News: The Louisiana state legislature today put the finishing touches on HB 388, the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, that the Planned Parenthood abortion business says could close three of the five abortion clinics in the state.
The Washington Times: New Louisiana abortion restrictions that would require doctors performing the procedure to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles are nearing final legislative passage, over the opposition of abortion-rights groups that say the bill will shutter clinics.
The Louisiana House of Representatives passed a bill 82-9-14 that would require abortion providers to give women seeking the procedure a pamphlet about the abortion’s harmful effects on mental health, which is in dispute.
The Times-Picayune: “Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, scrapped his proposal to make the Holy Bible the official state book before it could go to a full vote of the state House of Representatives Monday evening. The bill had become a distraction, he said.”
Times-Picayune: “Legislation that would make the Holy Bible the official state book of Louisiana cleared the House Committee on Municipal, Parochial and Cultural Affairs with a vote of 8-5 Thursday afternoon. It will now head to the full House of Representatives for consideration.”
The News Star: “Lawmakers rejected a bill Monday that would have prohibited housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The House Commerce Committee voted 13-5 against the measure, which was the first in a package of gay rights bills proposed for consideration this session.”
The Times-Picayune: “The Louisiana House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill 85-6 Monday afternoon that would restrict access to abortion services in the state. The legislation, which generated no discussion or questions on the House floor, now heads to the Louisiana Senate. ”
Diana Samuels at The Times-Picayune: “The ordinance says that only a ‘single family’ may rent homes in A-1 zoning districts, the most common residential designation in Baton Rouge. The law defines family as ‘an individual or two or more persons who are related by blood, marriage or legal adoption.’ It restricts more than two unrelated people from renting a home together, and, if the owner of the property lives in the home, prohibits more than four unrelated people from living there. . . . It raises questions, for example, about the effect on gay and lesbian residents. A gay couple with a foster child wouldn’t be allowed to rent a home together under the law.”
Times-Picayune: “Senate Bill 70 would remove the Balanced Treatment for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science Act from state law. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the law as unconstitutional 27 years ago, but it remains on the books, yet unenforceable, in Louisiana.”
Associated Press: “Lawmakers aren’t giving up on efforts to create a regulatory framework for surrogacy births in Louisiana, even though Gov. Bobby Jindal rejected the bill last year. Surrogacy is the arrangement when a woman carries a child to birth for another couple.”
KTBS: “Rep. Thomas Carmody takes on the task and filed House Bill 503 this session. It would make a specific bible, the oldest copy owned by the state, to become the official state book.”
The Times-Picayune: “The House Health and Welfare Committee passed a bill backed by Gov. Bobby Jindal to restrict access to abortion Wednesday. No member opposed the legislation.”
Religion Clause: “The ACLU announced on Friday the entry of a consent decree (full text) in Lane v. Sabine Parish School Board, (WD LA, March 14, 2014), enjoining the blatant promotion of Christianity (and harassment of a Buddhist student) that had been taking place in the Negreet, Louisiana schools.”
The Times-Picayune: “The Louisiana Legislature will consider adopting restrictions on abortion providers similar to those that shut down several facilities in Texas and threaten to shutter Mississippi’s one remaining abortion clinic.”
The Times-Picayune: “Jindal executive counsel Thomas Enright issued this statement on the lawsuit Tuesday (Feb. 18): ‘Religious freedom is foundational to liberty in America. In this case, the plaintiffs are alleging violations of the establishment clause not the free exercise clause. We don’t want to comment on this particular case before hearing the defendant’s side of the story, but as a general rule, government needs to be very careful before making decisions that restrict any American’s religious freedoms.’”
The Advertiser: “Under the judgment of 15th Judicial District Court Judge Edward Rubin, they are the first in the Louisiana to win a intrafamily adoption case involving same sex couples, Louisiana State University constitutional law adviser Paul Baier said.”
Associated Press: “Four gay married couples filed a federal lawsuit challenging the Louisiana Constitution’s prohibition against recognizing same-sex marriages performed legally in other states.”
UPI: “Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration has rescinded controversial new abortion regulations put in place in November on an emergency basis.”
The Times-Picayune: “It could be several days before Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church decides whether it will continue its effort to build a new sanctuary in Old Mandeville, which was dealt another blow Monday when the First Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed a lower court’s ruling that blocked the project.”
The Times-Picayune: “The First Circuit Court of Appeal has upheld a lower court ruling that essentially blocked construction of a Catholic Church in Old Mandeville. The ruling, issued Monday, affirms a decision by the 22nd Judicial District Court that the Mandeville Zoning Commission was within its rights when it denied Our Lady of the Lake Church’s application to build a new house of worship in the city’s historic district.” | Opinion is here.
The Times-Picayune: “Regulations that make it harder for abortion clinics in Louisiana to stay in business, put into place without notice on an ‘emergency basis’ last November by Gov. Bobby Jindal, would become permanent under a proposal by Jindal’s administration.”
KSLA: “Superintendent Sara Ebarb was unavailable Wednesday for comment, but on a statement released by the board on Thursday reads, ‘The Sabine Parish School Board has only recently been made aware of the lawsuit filed by the ACLU. A lawsuit only represents one side’s allegations, and the board is disappointed that the ACLU chose to file suit without even contacting it regarding the facts.’”
ArkLaTex: “The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Louisiana filed a federal lawsuit today against the Sabine Parish School Board, alleging that officials at one school harassed and proselytized a sixth-grader because of his Buddhist faith. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two parents, Scott and Sharon Lane, and three of their children, including their son, ‘C.C.,’ who is a lifelong Buddhist of Thai descent.”
Weekly Standard: President Obama’s Department of Justice has admitted it cannot prove that Louisiana school choice is violating desegregation efforts, yet it continues to seek the ability to tell a parent their child cannot escape a failing school because their child is not the “right” race.
Gay Star News: Liz and Nadia Harris had a full house in New Orleans for Christmas with five new additions to their family. The couple, married for four-and-a-half years, are now the parents of quintuplets – four boys named Michael, David, Maxwell and Joseph and a girl named Elizabeth.
The Advocate: A state appelate court has thrown out fines levied against a New Orleans abortion provider, ruling that the state health agency didn’t have the legal authority to impose the fines.
Bayou Buzz: The Shreveport City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on an ordinance that would provide protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Right now, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is stalled in the House, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not cover sexual orientation. That leaves members of the LGBT, or lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community without protection, federally or state-wide.
Politico: “As a conservative Republican, I believe that we have been stupid to let the Democrats demagogue the contraceptives issue and pretend, during debates about health care insurance, that Republicans are somehow against birth control,” Jindal wrote in The Wall Street Journal. “It’s a disingenuous political argument they make.”
Louisiana Voucher Assault, Round 2: Justice’s lawsuit takes a bizarre turn to keep kids in rotten schools.
Wall Street Journal (via Google): The Justice Department campaign against Louisiana school vouchers gets curiouser and curiouser. Attorney General Eric Holder’s troops are now trying to prevent black parents from joining the case by amending their original lawsuit to block the vouchers in 22 districts.
Washington Times: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is claiming victory after the Obama administrationJustice Department backed off on its legal push to end the state’s groundbreaking school voucher program, which has allowed thousands of poor children to attend the state’s best schools.
The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, today joined with parents in applauding the decision by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for dropping its bid to block the operation of the Louisiana Scholarship Program. However, the DOJ refused to drop its entire lawsuit against the program and instead shifted its focus on creating new barriers to the program.